All posts by Stephanie

Gadget Day is back! Join us on December 7th

Join us at Weigle Information Commons for another Gadget Day on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. We have a day of workshops on the latest gadgets and tools including Google Hangout, Evernote, Firefox Extensions, Audience Response Sytems (like PollEverywhere, TurningPoint and others) and iPads in the Classroom.  Check out the schedule for the day and register online.

Where Do All Your Tweets Go?

Do you ever wonder what happens to all those tweets you painstakingly (or not so painstakingly) tweet?  I often ask myself how many people out there really see what I have to say about libraries and technology and what twitter is not telling me.  Luckily, there are lots of websites and programs out there to try to answer my burning twitter questions.  Here are a few that are fun to play around with.

Klout gives you a “Klout Score” which is a number between 1 and 100 that measures how many people you influence, how much you influence them and how influential they are.   Klout will also measure your influenced based on  multiple social media accounts.  Connect your Twitter, facebook and LinkedIn accounts, among others, for the most accurate score.

TweetReach has an easy to use interface – enter your twitter handle to see how many people you have reached and how many “impressions” you have made.  Sign up for a free account for downloadable reports or pay for a Pro account to track your tweets over time.

MentionMapp is a very cool visual representation of the people and hashtags you have mentioned in your recent tweets, and where your tweet goes from there.  You can also zoom in and zoom out anywhere on the map.

The Archivist does what you think it does.  It searches an archive of tweets, whether you search by user or hashtag and shows you charts and graphs about you and your tweets based upon your tweets over time.  Sign in to save your archive and change the settings to keep your archive private or make it public.  The Archivist is free to use.

You can also get a better view of where your tweets land using social media aggregators like TweetDeck or HootSuite

If you are using twitter in a professional context or sharing many links, using “second chance” tweets might also help you reach your audience.  According to Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, after three hours our tweets are headed into oblivion.  I know I do not scroll through days of tweets at a time looking for links that I may have missed or after a tweet-free weekend at the beach.   To combat the twitter link half-life, @searchengineland schedules a “second chance” tweet that generates 50% more traffic.  That is a boost that is worth the effort.

Google Maps vs. Bing Maps

Bing Maps is hitting the roads of the UK with its 360 degree camera mounted vehicles so I thought it was time to give it a serious look at how it compares to my standby online maps at Google.  I am a long time Google user, but not necessarily a loyalist, so let the best map win! Bing Maps has the same essential functionality as Google Maps: giving directions, finding businesses and pin pointing locations and, using satellite and 360 imagery. How do they stand up to each other?

As a test, I decided to search for WIC’s home, Van Pelt Library:


When it comes to 45 degree angle views, Bing came first. Bing will also automatically switch to what it decides is the best view as you zoom, taking you from street map to 45 degree images as soon as you get close enough.  The available of 45 degree images from Google was also hit or miss.


Mission: Coffee break.  One of my favorite Google Map features is clicking on a pin point and using “search nearby” for finding whatever is on my mind.  A keyword search shows me the results listed on the left and the pin points on the map.  Bing on the other hand made me browse by category rather than search for businesses by keyword (unless I’m missing something).  Also, Bing did not give me the distance between my location (Van Pelt) and my coffee options listed in the search results.


Bing also answers Google’s Streetview with Bing Streetside.  If you are searching for Van Pelt Library, Google is your answer here.  Bing’s Streetside was limited to public roadways for vehicle traffic but Google has the walkways on campus covered, giving you a great view of the front of the library.


The imagery from Bing Maps and the wide availability of 45 degree angle views makes browsing fun.  On the other hand the location services from Google win out over Bing in my book.   In the end, I think that they both have a place in the arsenal of online map tools with many more features to explore.  For example:  Bing’s Map Apps.  What do you think? How do you use Bing Maps and Google Maps?

Gadget Day is August 23!

Gadget Day is August 23! WIC will host a day of workshops dedicated to the latest gadgets and tools.  Test drive programs like Evernote, Prezi, Tumblr, WordPress and Flickr or try out one of several iPad sessions for fun and creative ways to get the most out of your tablet device. Explore a variety of smart phones and tablets. Check out the full schedule for the day and register online.

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Scenes from previous Gadget Days at WIC